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Lionsgate Acquires Mandate, Co-COO and President

11 Sep, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Seeking to invigorate its theatrical distribution and executive ranks, Lionsgate has acquired independent production company Mandate Pictures and named its CEO Joe Drake as co-COO and president of the Santa Monica, Calif.-based mini-major's motion picture group.

The $56.3 million acquisition, which includes distribution of $44.3 million in cash and $12 million in Lionsgate stock over an 18-month period, excludes an additional $6.6 million in Mandate debt Lionsgate will assume.

Drake, who headed Lionsgate's international distribution division until 2001, founded Mandate and produced and co-produced a series of successful movies, including 2006 Stranger than Fiction with Will Ferrell, the upcoming Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium with Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman; Jason Reitman's Juno and Harold & Kumar 2, the sequel to Mandate's 2004 comedy hit.

A key driver to the deal is Mandate's strength in foreign sales of third party titles, including Because I Said So with Diane Keaton, White Jazz with George Clooney, and upcoming remake of Sleuth with Jude Law and Michael Caine, the latter of which starred in the 1972 original with Laurence Olivier.

Mandate also co-produced The Grudge, Boogeyman, The Grudge 2 and The Messengers.

“This acquisition reunites an entrepreneurial executive with an entrepreneurial company as well as adds a third party domestic and international profit center to our diverse business operations,” said Jon Feltheimer, Lionsgate co-chairman and CEO.

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